Ebola-Thomas Eric Duncan
Ebola: A nation divided
October 9, 2014  //  By:   //  Health & Science  //  No Comment

by Editorial Staff

Thomas Eric Duncan has died. The 42-year old Liberian who came to the United States carrying the Ebola virus lost his battle with the deadly disease and has spurred a flurry of public emotion- from anger to sympathy.

Some have portrayed Thomas Eric Duncan as public enemy number one. Others a poor soul who came expecting the best medical care and was denied.

Duncan’s entry into the county has stirred a controversy over whether travel restrictions need to be implemented. Proponents argue that restricting travel to and from the Ebola stricken countries is the only way to halt the spread in America while opponents say it would be counterproductive. The public appears to be divided on the issue as well.

Then there’s the family of Duncan. Some of them are claiming “bias,” citing that Duncan did not receive the same care as four other Americans who contracted the disease overseas and who were returned to the U.S. for treatment.

“We feel he didn’t get the medicine and treatment for the disease because he’s African and they don’t consider him as important as the other three,” Josephus Weeks, Duncan’s nephew, said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Duncan is being “treated the way any other patient would have been treated, regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area.”

Now there are growing concerns that Duncan’s family may pepper health care providers, and even the government, with lawsuits. More so is the concern that allegations of bias and racism will exacerbate already tense relations in a country divided over immigration and race.

If he had lived, Duncan may have been arrested in his home country for not being truthful on his airport screening form leaving some to believe he lied so he could get to the U.S. for better medical care. And now the claims by some of his family members that Duncan wasn’t treated as aggressively as the other four Ebola patients has some shaking their heads. Duncan had no health insurance and his thousands of dollars in treatment will be paid for by the taxpayers. Some news outlets have reported the medical care alone cost upward of $400,000.

Today’s news was not only filled with stories on Duncan’s death but on a possible new case of the lethal disease. It’s been reported that a patient exhibiting “signs and symptoms of Ebola” has been transported from a Frisco CareNow to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The patient was identified as Sgt. Michael Monnig, a deputy who accompanied county health officials Zachary Thompson and Christopher Perkins into the apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan stayed in Dallas.

When Ebola first surfaced in West Africa, the U.S. government gave assurance that it wouldn’t reach American soil. Now that it has, the government gives assurance that it will stop its spread. In the meantime, an anxious public waits.

 

Image: Flickr/EU Humanitarian Aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author :

Carol Thompson is a veteran investigative reporter residing in central New York. She spent 23 years with a local newspaper, The Valley News, before leaving for the Syracuse New Times, and now, VNN. Thompson has won dozens of first-place awards for investigative reporting and was the 2006 recipient of the Syracuse Press Club’s prestigious Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award. Thompson’s reporting has resulted in the arrest of public officials and has prompted policy changes. She uncovered two money laundering schemes that traveled the globe and resulted in the indictments of several developers.